7 Ways to Turn Cabin Fever into Family Fun in the Smokies


The kids have been out of school for a couple weeks, the excitement of Christmas has come and passed, and it’s time for all the electronics to stop being abused. The backside of winter break has begun. Even if you don’t have kids, cabin fever likes to creep in after the highs of Christmas have subsided and the early nights once filled with lights have begun to get darker and darker.

There are still a few days left in the break; don’t waste them hanging out in the same house you have been cooped up in for weeks! Grab the kids or some friends and be cooped up, together, in an awesome, amenity-packed Pigeon Forge cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Pack up the board games, grab you and your girlfriends’ favorite bottle of wine, and bring your favorite DVD movies for some cabin fever of a totally different kind! Here are 7 of my favorite ways to make cabin fever a good time:

  1. Indoor Olympics
    Sometimes, even board and card games can lose their appeal to the kids, but making it into an entire Olympic event brings a whole new level of excitement! Simply pick up a cheap poster board and a pack of markers to draw up a bracket with the names of all the “athletes” and the “events.” Use all the games you and the kids are familiar with while keeping the length of gameplay in mind. Many cabins have recreational rooms with arcade games, foosball, and air hockey to add to your Olympic events to your competitive cabin extravaganza!
  2. Scavenger Hunt
    I will admit, I stole this idea from my dad. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are searching for the next cryptic clue around our campsite or cabin to eventually find a huge bag of Dollar Store treasures. You can decide what prizes to use, but maybe add something extra-special like tickets to Dollywood or ice skating in Ober Gatlinburg along with the candy! All the scavenger hunt needs are post-it notes and a writing utensil. While the kids are watching a movie or swimming in the indoor pool, use random décor and items around the cabin as the objects to be hunted from each clever clue!
  3. Movie Night
    This is an easy remedy to any night you feel boredom creeping in! Make a movie more exciting with homemade treats and kettle popcorn cooked on the stovetop. Pile up pillows and blankets to create a comfy viewing area in front of the living room flatscreen for prime movie viewing for the kids. Snuggle up with them after all the lights are turned down and the snacks have been distributed for some quality cuddle time, especially since you will be sending them back into the hectic routine of school and extracurricular activities in just a week or so. You can host a movie night in your own miniature theater in the cabin without spending the extra money if your cabin houses a private theater room!
  4. Crafting!
    After visiting the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community in Gatlinburg, you will have plenty of ideas for unique crafts that you and the kids can recreate! Bring supplies from home or purchase them in any of the local crafting supplies stores to pick up what you need once you have planned out your creation. Laugh and let your creative sides come out around the cabin dining room table while sipping on warm apple cider and hot chocolate and the snow falls outside.
  5. Camping by the Fire
    Start the fire, grab your hot chocolate, and grab the flashlights, but don’t worry about getting too cold, because your campsite is in the warmth of the cabin living room! Help the kids pull the chairs together along with bed sheets and pillows for an awesome fort in front of the fire. I generally use hair-ties or thin rubber-bands to secure my tent, but tying the corners and tucking them into cushions can work, as well! The little ones are sure to get a kick out of “camping” in the Smokies after cold days cooped up in the house the past couple weeks.
  6. Scrapbook the Holidays
    If you are anything like me, you are coming out of the holidays with an obnoxious number of pictures… I am bad about letting Facebook and Instagram act as my photo albums. My mom and I used to scrapbook so much when I was younger, and the memories of gluing little pieces of ribbon alongside pictures and memorabilia has led me to try and print more of my photos during special occasions. Share this art with your kids by letting them draw pictures or choose what trinkets they want to add to a scrapbook with this year’s Christmas photos! It will cure some of those after the holiday blues and teach them to value their time with family in a creative way. It’s a great way to showcase the fun you had in downtown Pigeon Forge, too!
  7. Fresh Start
    Have you had quite a bit of family time and cooking, decorating, and coordinating the family holiday gatherings has you wiped out? Book a small cabin for you a few of your fellow mothers and have some “me time” with your ladies! Pick out your favorite bottle of wine along the Rocky Top Wine Trail in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg before heading to the cabin for quality time with friends. Take off the holiday nail polish and slap on a few of those drugstore face masks while laughing and finally decompressing. Your Vacation Planner can even hook you and your girls up with an in-cabin massage to really work out those holiday stress-knots! This is my favorite way to start the new year, relaxed and rejuvenated!